The 1st of April - Happy April Fools Day to one and all. Such a strange celebration, and not one which we really celebrate down here in the Antipodes, that we decided to see what Mr Google thought of it all.
It appears that on this day in 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each other.
Although the day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. Who knows if all this is true or not – perhaps someone is playing an April Fools joke in cyberspace!
But we do remember several interesting news items played on local TV over the years. Such as the turkeys wearing gumboots in a 1968 Wellington edition of regional news show Town and Around, when reporter Erin Sinclair investigated an innovative farmer whose turkeys were shod in gumboots. The legendary hoax apparently fooled two executives from Skellerup who flew to Wanganui to secure a contract to manufacture the boots' lining. Check the film clip out here and have an April Fools Day chuckle.